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Germany's Merkel plays down failure to clinch EU budget deal

Reuters reportsEuropean Union leaders failed to reach agreement on Friday on a new seven-year budget for their troubled bloc, calling off talks in less than two days after most countries balked at far deeper spending cuts demanded by Britain and its allies.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the biggest contributor to EU coffers, said she had not expected a deal at the first attempt and played down the consequences of failure, saying there was a real potential for agreement at the start of 2013. Read the full story.

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